Odhikar is a human rights organization established in 1994 with lawyers, university professors, journalists, social and development activists committed to human rights. Among many other activities one of the mandates of Odhikar is to observe elections and to monitor human rights violations related to elections. Since Odhikar attaches special importance to election monitoring, it submitted a proposal to monitor the 8th National Parliamentary Election to the Asia Foundation. The Asia Foundation accepted the proposal, titled “Pre-election Assessment and Mobile Monitoring on Election Day of the 8th Parliamentary Election” and an agreement between Odhikar and The Asia Foundation was entered into.
The 8th National Parliamentary Election was hailed, as the fairest one so far, except for some unwanted incidents around the country. The people were worried about the use of illegal arms and money in the election. The election observation was difficult and risky also. In this respect it can be said that the mobile election observation of Odhikar was a successful mission. All local and foreign observers and diplomatic missions confidently expressed that the election, as a whole, was conducted in a free, fair, peaceful and orderly manner. Jimmy Carter, Ex-President of the United States of America, in a letter written to the Chief Advisor of the Caretaker Government, had expressed that, “it now appears from all international and domestic observer reports that the elections were relatively peaceful and they were conducted in accordance with international standards”. These reports run counter to public statements attributed to Sheikh Hassina and the Awami League of massive rigging. Any complaints should follow normal legal channels of appeal rather than a complete refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the electoral process and the election.
8th_parliamentary_election_report_2001 (full text in English, PDF)